Opening the Black Box of Creativity

A public lecture to open the creativity and innovation series, given by Vlad Glaveanu, Head of Psychology.

Thursday, October 26, 18:00-19:30

LLC Commons Room, Webster University Geneva

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Creativity is a highly popular topic nowadays given its contribution to personal well-being, professional success, and societal progress. But what exactly is the nature of the creative process? The scientific study of creativity – which is more than a century old – brought us closer to answering this question by first of all shifting the focus from geniuses and their heredity towards the psychological functioning of each and every individual. And yet, research into creative cognition takes us as far as postulating mental operations such as association or combination as the basis of creativity. What everyday experience shows us is that it takes much more than this for someone or something to be called creative. For instance, we cannot separate creativity from the social, material, and institutional relations that make it possible. Understanding the “mental” black box of creativity thus requires us to open, other, “bigger” boxes such as the environment and culture. This talk will explore creativity as a simultaneously psychological, social, and cultural process. In doing so, it will go beyond traditional explanations of this phenomenon in terms of divergent, combinatorial or lateral thinking, and towards a broader range of processes such as re-positioning, perspective-taking and reflexivity. The conceptual, methodological and practical implications of adopting an “expanded” view of how creativity works will be discussed in the end.


Vlad Glăveanu is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology at Webster University Geneva, as well as associate researcher at the University of Bergen, Paris Descartes University, and Neuchâtel University. He obtained his PhD from the London School of Economics and has done extensive research in the area of creativity, innovation, culture, and collaboration. He recently edited the Palgrave Handbook of Creativity and Culture Research (2016) and co-edited the Oxford Handbook of Imagination and Culture (2017) and the Cambridge Handbook of Creativity across Domains (2017). Outside of academia, Vlad has worked as a trainer or consultant for organizations interested in managing creativity, innovation, and change processes.

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Webster University Geneva, LLC Commons Room
Route de Collex 9 1293 Bellevue, Switzerland

Event Type

Global Campuses, Geneva



Webster University Geneva
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